Growing up with 4 sisters was quite a chaotic scene, although there were some pretty great moments of calm as well.As a mother of 4 girls, I am often asked if this is a nightmare. I get the gasps and the stares, the rolling of the eyes and the “Oh you’re in so much trouble in a few years”.
Perhaps this is indeed true. But a common misconception about girls is that they are “dramatic”. That they are exhausting. That they just never stop talking.
There is a very valid reason for that. Their brains tend to process experience with up to 10 times more white matter activity than male brains often do. White matter activity keeps the brain constantly on, making internal connections, especially between feelings and words.
And just as there is a continued concern about our boys and their social-emotional wellness, I have a continued concern about our girls.
It is this: Well meaning, well intentioned adults miss the mark when they dismiss some very real opportunities for guidance as “drama.”
What girls do with their mouths, boys do with their hands. They test boundaries and defy gravity with their moods.
They push with their words and often go to what I call “crazy town” when someone doesn’t reciprocate their text or message on social media.
Dr. Gurian has taught me that indeed there is a valid reason and some strategies to propel your daughter forward. Some of these lie in listening, really truly and actively listening.
Rosalind Wiseman says “The art of listening is to be prepared to be changed by what you hear.”
Stephen Covey says to “Seek first to understand as opposed to being understood.”
And alas, once we have listened, a bi-strategic approach is to listen, but then allow one parent or one other adult to give one solution or strategy to you.
Our standard responses of “Walk away”, “don’t play with her”, “just ignore her”, doesn’t help much. Sure, these strategies may help momentarily but they don’t help much. They in some cases re-victimize the victim, and they certainly don’t properly advance the maturity of the situation.
In this video clip, Dr. Gurian outlines the “why” behind the aggression and how developmentally it is in line with the rites of passage of a young woman.